For whatever reason, I feel like there’s a stigma about playing games on certain difficulties. I typically play games on normal, though I’ve played the occasional game on hard, and a handful of games on easy (I usually reserve this for when the control scheme, or the combat, is lacking). I’ve written a little about this before, but today I was thinking about how I prefer to play older games from previous generations.
For games from the PS3 and Xbox 360 era, I’m still good with normal. I like to see how the game was, more or less, intended to be played. I like to see what the balance is.
For even older games from prior generations, I’ve often struggled with the controls. I’ve mentioned before that there is a huge gap in my gaming history which covers many consoles (e.g.: PS1, PS2) and, because of that, I tend to struggle with the controls from some games of that era.
The first game I played with tank controls was the original Resident Evil. That was an experience. I spent a lot of the early parts of the game running into walls and comically not going in the direction I wanted to go. For someone like myself who wasn’t used to that control scheme, it was a bit of a struggle to “unlearn” modern controls and try to adapt to the standard for the time.
I’d always wanted to play through the Silent Hill series (something I still want to do), so when I started on the first one, I didn’t really know what to expect.
I set it to normal and I blew it. I ended up getting stuck running around the streets trying to figure out where I was going and how to fight.
It was a struggle.
I eventually got killed enough that I realized I was going to have to either get a lot better quickly (possible, but unlikely), or start the game over on easy.
I ended up putting it down and never going back to it. That was a couple of years ago.
I have every intention of picking it back up and, this time, setting it to easy so I can experience the story. I don’t think there is any shame in altering the difficulty if it means I get to experience the game, and not just the game over screen.
What really got me thinking about this was a Let’s Play I’ve been watching on Game Informer. Their Super Replay of Resident Evil 4 has me wanting to finally actually play that game (I’ve wanted to for a long, long time) for myself. I recently acquired it for PS4, and I’m super excited to see it through. But I recall playing the first area years ago (I can’t even recall which system I was playing it on), and struggling a bit with the controls. So I decided, preemptively, that if it has options for difficulty settings, I’m going with easy all the way. The game intrigues me and I can’t wait to see the story, but I don’t want to be constantly worried about biting it. Seeing a Resident Evil expert play the game and seeing some of the high tension scenarios stop even him in his tracks has me feeling just fine with that call.
I’ve only ever played a few contemporary games on easy, but I somehow still feel like that makes me, I don’t know, less something. I don’t think I’m the very best at games, but I’m certainly not the worst, either. Ultimately, I want to have those experiences, and if setting a game to easy facilitates that, then that’s okay with me. I’d hate to miss out just because I’m not familiar with tank controls, or something similar.
How do you feel about difficulty settings? Do you feel strange about changing a game to an easier setting? Or do you like to play games on hard from the start for an added challenge? How do you approach difficulty settings?